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Rick Bragnalo

Name

Rick Bragnalo

Community

Fort William/Thunder Bay

Induction Sport

Hockey

Induction Year

2011

Biography

This outstanding athlete developed his skills growing up in Fort William, going on to enjoy success in amateur and professional sports at the national, collegiate, international, and world level.

On the baseball diamond, he contributed to back-to-back Canadian Senior Little League titles as a member of the 1966 and 1967 Fort William Americans. A standout in minor and junior hockey, his talents at centre ice for the Fort William Canadiens Junior Team earned him the 1968 Rookie of the Year and scoring title honours.

Playing with the University of Denver from 1970-74, he advanced to the 'Final Four', three out of four years. When he joined the professional ranks with the Dayton Gems of the International Hockey League (IHL), his 41 goals and 72 assists during the 1974-75 season earned him the IHL Rookie of the Year, Top Scorer and First Team All-Star honours.

Called up to the National Hockey League by the Washington Capitals in March of 1976, he skated in all 80 games of the Capitals 1976-77 season and split his time over the following two seasons between the NHL and AHL, helping the Hershey Bears land a playoff berth in 1978-79. In 1979-80 his high point earnings led the Port Huron Flags to an IHL playoff run.

Playing in the Italian professional leagues from 1980-92, he spent a decade with SG MAK Brunico, advancing to the playoffs in six of his ten seasons with the club. A leading force with HC Milano Saima from 1990-92, his two goals in the final game of the 1990-91 playoff finals helped earn the club their first and only Italian Hockey League title. Named to the 1984 Italian Olympic Hockey Team, unfortunately he was ineligible to hit the Olympic ice in Sarajevo because of his time spent in the NHL. Selected to the Italian national team for 6 World Hockey Championships from 1981-87, he earned 1980-81 Group B First All- Star Team honours and his goal and two assists in 1981-82 Group A action against a Wayne Gretzky-led Team Canada resulted in a 3-3 tie and one of the tournament’s biggest surprises.

Retiring from the professional ranks in 1992 at the age of 40, he returned to Thunder Bay and moved behind the bench, coaching the 1996-97 AAA Midget Kings to a national title as Air Canada Cup champions, rounding out a career in hockey spanning the 1960s to the 90s, in which he represented his hometown with pride.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 24, 2011